Chapter 3 – The confrontation

The next morning, the storm has indeed stopped and Sharon is currently jogging towards the airport. She has already checked out the hotel, much to the surprise of the receptionist wondering how much she really cared for her ‘cousin’.
She hadn’t bothered getting a ride; she was already low on money and the airport wasn’t that far away. Not to mention how great the jungle smelled after the rain.
With a semi-planned out plan she runs up to the airfield in which only a single small airplane can be seen in an open hangar.
Looking around, she sees that no-one is around so she dashes over to the airplane, trying to make as little sound as possible and avoiding puddles. She quickly makes it over to the lone airplane. It didn’t look big from afar and it doesn’t look that impressive from up close either: it seems to hold up to 10 people at most.
Looking around one final time she approaches the door and carefully opens it, hoping that Hank is not here or at least asleep, and that the door isn’t locked. Except for a small swing noise Sharon manages to open the door without problem or noise. She breathes out as quietly as possible and takes a deep breath to hold as she enters the lair of the dragon.

Luckily the dragon, Hank, is thankfully asleep on a small bed. The pilot is nowhere to be seen and neither is the idol.
Sharon, already knowing that when Hank is around, nothing is ever easy, quietly closes the door. Sighing quietly she rolls up her non-existent sleeves and goes to search the plane for the idol without trying to wake Hank up.

*

Ten or so minutes later, Sharon picks up Hank’s belt pack that’s lying dangerously close to Hank. It’s fairly heavy and opening it reveals the idol inside. Without taking a breath she carefully puts the belt pack down. Standing up again and ready to leave her face turns bleak. From out the window she notices that there is someone walking towards the airplane: the pilot. He doesn’t seem to have noticed her as he is reading a paper and checking his watch.
Sharon looks around for a place to hide and decides that a small storage space will serve as a hiding spot. It’s kinda like a cupboard, but it’s empty and Sharon manages to hide in it just as the pilot enters. He doesn’t seem to care for Hank being asleep as he opens the door briskly and moves with loud footsteps. Hank obviously wakes up. Tired, he sits up and rubs the sleep out of his eyes.
“What’s the rush? Fire?” Hank yawns. The pilot just looks at him for a beat.
“No, I’d just like to get home again,” he finally replies.
“Hey, I warned you that we might get stuck here due to the storm. That’s why I paid you extra,” Hank says while picking up a canteen to drink from.
“I got mosquito bites all over, it’s not worth it,” the pilot complains while looking for the keys to the plane.
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s leave,” Hank grins.

A few minutes later the plane takes off. Hank has moved from his bed to a seat right next to it and is now reading Artemis Fowl. His belt pack is still lying on the bed.
Suddenly the plane takes a sharp turn left and Sharon rolls out of her hiding spot and hits the bed. The noise makes Hank turn around and he gets surprised when he sees his uninvited guest.
“Sharon!” he exclaims. He puts away the book and walks over to Sharon.
Sharon picks up the idol she dropped and stands up.
“Hank you slimy toad, I’m going to return the idol to the village,” she angrily says.
“Sure, I could do that, buuut…” Hank says with that same superior grin he had when they met in the temple before.
“I need to trade the idol for a nice little artefact I found and need. Besides, the idol you are holding is a replica.”
Sharon looks at the idol she’s holding. Sure it’s heavy, but not gold heavy. She looks around while Hank opens a secret compartment under his bed and takes out yet another idol.
“You know I like to be on the safe side, so I was sleeping on the real one,” he says while showing off the idol he is holding. Sharon is not amused. Then her eyes go wide, much to Hank’s confusion.
“Oh, what now?” Hank asks and rolls his eyes, but is still a little bit worried.
Sharon slowly lifts her arm and points at Hank’s shoulder.
“Spider,” she weakly says.
Hank freaks out and flails his arms, trying to shoo away the non-existent bug on his shoulder. Hank really hates bugs and spiders and Sharon knows this. Needless to say, this isn’t the first time Sharon has fooled Hank like this.
In his panic, Hank drops the idol, that flies towards the front of the plane. Sharon is quick to dash around Hank and pick up the idol, dropping the fake idol she was carrying. She also takes a parachute while she’s at it.
Meanwhile, Hank has sprayed his arm with insect spray and calmed down once he realised he’s been tricked. He’s not happy.
“That was a low blow,” he says, sounding more irritated than angry. Sharon doesn’t answer as she is getting the door open. It’s difficult, but since the plane is not flying too high it’s possible. Hank takes a step towards Sharon, but she just smiles at him before jumping off.

Hank closes the door and picks up the idol that Sharon dropped. He grins.
“Hehe, I had a number of these made,” he holds up the idol.
“Of course, the one under my bed is also a replica as that was the most obvious one to be real.”
Hank walks over to one of the seats.
“The real one is safely hidden under here,” he says and lifts up the bottom cushion. His smile disappears when he sees that there is no idol under it. Panicked he searches the area around the seat for the idol, but in vain.
“That sneaky little…” Hank mutters to himself. He stands up and shakes his head.
“Looks like she won this time, oh well. Until next time,” he says and picks up his book again.

On the ground, Sharon is running back towards the village, smiling for herself. She knew that Hank would have pulled off a trick like that and as such she didn’t stop searching when she had found one of the idols. She had then figured out which was the real idol and had put it in her backpack. After that it was really easy to fool Hank.

Sharon makes it back to the village and gives the idol to the authorities. They are really happy that someone managed to get the idol from the temple and that they now can add something else to their museum. As a thanks they give Sharon free admittance to the museum forever. She’s just happy that she could help.

And so ends Sharon’s adventure in Timal. It took a while, but the village managed to expand with help of tourism and was saved. Hank wasn’t seen for a good while and Sharon kept going on her adventures.

THE END

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